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CES: Consumers Want Cars That Help Them Drive, Not Fetch Them Coffee

Jan. 7, 2016
Auto buyers value their cars’ autonomous features, but are less enamored with convenience tech, say two J.D. Power experts.

There’s a disconnect between what automakers think buyers what from their car tech, and what those buyers actually find desirable and useful, say a pair of technology data experts from J.D. Power. And sometimes, consumers don’t even know they have certain features on their cars--or they have no idea how to use them.

Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show today, Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. auto quality, and Kristin Kolodge, executive director, driver interaction and HMI, said that in general, auto-buyers value their cars’ autonomous features, but are less enamored with connected convenience tech like email and data connectivity.

Here are some of their key findings, based on tracking of customer satisfaction ratings and adoption rates for new vehicle technologies.

Consumers love current collision protection and crash avoidance tech:  Across all areas of in-vehicle technology --including entertainment and connectivity, comfort and convenience, and driving assistance--auto buyers have the highest overall satisfaction levels (752 out of 1000 points) with collision protection technology.  Navigation systems ranked last.

Device links and mobile WiFi often go unused: While 69% of consumers who have blind spot warning detection use the technology every time they drive (a higher utilization rate than radio and HVAC usage), 30% of customers don’t even know if they have in-vehicle voice texting or smartphone navigation interfaces.  Forty-three percent said they never use in-vehicle concierge services and 38% said they never use in-vehicle mobile routers.

Automation features rank high: Some of the “most wanted” features on customers’ wish lists: Blind Spot Warning (87%), Park Assist (82%), Adaptive Cruise Control (71%); Low Speed Collision Avoidance (71%), Lane Keeping Assist (69%).  The lowest ranked items on the wish list: E-Mail integration, Apple CarPlay, Health & Wellness Systems

Today’s semi-autonomous features are “the ultimate enabler”: Consumer interest in these emerging semi-autonomous features are a precursor to building their confidence in self-driving vehicles.  The key will be building trust with these technologies.

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